Is Karnataka heading for lockdown amid spike in clusters? What CM says
Amid fresh COVID-19 concerns, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai ruled out the possibility of lockdown in the state and said that his government was taking utmost precautions.
With new clusters emerging in the state and threats of new variant Omicron looming large, Bommai said that the government has to manage things at two levels to control the further spread of the pandemic.
“Instructions have been given to increase the number of tests per day. The Health Minister will be holding a meeting with officials and experts, the outcome of which will be shared with me, following which we may take certain decisions keeping in view the current circumstances,” Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, Bommai said that lockdown or any such measures that are being speculated, are not before the government. “There is no question of it, as of now,” he said.
“Normal public life should continue, but COVID-19 norms should be followed at places where people gather, also organizations of such gatherings should be responsible. We are taking utmost precautions, and wherever clusters have emerged, we will keep extra vigil there,” Bommai added.
Intensifying screening of international passengers at airports, heightened border checks, asking educational institutions to postpone their public events, were among the measures announced by the government on Saturday amid fresh COVID-19 concerns. It had also indicated that based on the number of cases and scenarios in the coming days, it may take certain stringent measures.
Noting that the government is observing the effects of the new variant Omicron at the international, national and the state level, the Chief Minister said that the administration will also have to manage the existing delta variant’s new clusters that are emerging.
“The state government has to manage things at two levels. We are doing all that we can at our level like scientific observation and management to control the new strain, and have taken the help of National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) for further analysis,” Bommai said.
“We are extra vigilant about the people who have travelled from the foreign countries by tracking, tracing and testing them and their contacts. We have already issued guidelines regarding clusters, stating that- everyone there should be tested, and a repeat test should follow after seven days, also their contacts… we are conducting a special drive there,” he added.
There are concerns as the sample of one of the two persons, who have arrived in Bengaluru recently from South Africa, is said to be different from the existing Delta variant. On the other hand, schools and colleges at several places like Dharwad, Anekal, Sarjapura and Mysuru, are also turning into COVID-19 clusters.
Meanwhile, Health Minister K. Sudhakar, ahead of a meeting with officials and experts, said that discussions would be on measures to be taken regarding administering second dose of COVID vaccine to everyone, and enhancing vigil at states borders.
“With the Technical Advisory Committee (on COVID) we will discuss quarantine norms, especially those travelling from foreign countries; also our preparedness to fight the new variant, at hospitals and ICUs,” Sudhakar said, the meeting will also gather information about the intensity of the new variant.
In response to a question on restrictions on festivities, Sudhakar said, “As of now there are no restrictions on activities and functioning of institutions. There are no such plans to restrict for now.” Sudhakar added that the government was waiting for WHO’s report on the new variant.
To another query on administering booster dose to frontline workers, Sudhakar said that the Centre would have to take a decision on this.
(With inputs from Agencies)